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Brain Res. 2003 Sep 5;983(1-2):174-84.

High frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus improves treadmill locomotion in unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesioned rats.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


This study investigated the influence of electrical stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) on motor impairment induced by unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesions in the medial forebrain bundle. Rats were trained to walk on a treadmill and then implanted with microelectrode arrays in and near the STN. The neurotoxin 6-OHDA was injected into the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) unilaterally to produce a targeted lesion of the dopaminergic system. Successful lesions produced impaired treadmill walking behavior. High frequency stimulation (HFS) of the STN improved treadmill walking immediately and restored normal walking patterns. The same HFS failed to evoke visible side effects such as stepping, turning, raising of the head or facial muscle contraction in the absence of treadmill movement, or to change rotational behaviors elicited by the dopamine (DA) agonist apomorphine in unilateral lesioned rats. This suggests that the stimulation did not cause movement by an activation of brainstem locomotor regions or an increase attention leading to movement. Apomorphine-induced rotation may represent an imbalance of dopaminergic activation which remains during HFS. This work may provide a rodent model for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in patients with Parkinson's disease, and be suitable for further investigation of the neural mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects of DBS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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